Breaking new ground Habitat for Humanity: Anne Arundel volunteers ready to start building 28th home.

December 12, 1997

THERE IS A dark side to Anne Arundel's glittering, post-World War II transformation from a largely rural backwater to an increasingly sophisticated county. As the population has skyrocketed, rising housing prices have made it difficult for many families of limited means to find affordable shelter.

Consider the case of Larry and Sharon Taylor. With eight children, ages 3 to 11, the Taylors, who run their own cleaning business, are a low-income family. They live in a rented Severn townhouse. The two oldest boys share a bedroom in a windowless basement. Five girls share one room.

All that is about to change. Tomorrow, Arundel Habitat for Humanity will break ground on a new home for the Taylors that will have more space for the children. Because the house will be constructed by volunteers, the mortgage will be modest enough for the family to handle.

"The Lord's timing is always perfect," says Mrs. Taylor, 48, of the long-awaited community project.

Arundel Habitat for Humanity is a branch of an admirable network whose volunteers make a difference. Although it has always been a Christian organization, Habitat receives substantial support from non-Christian religious groups, as well as individuals and organizations with no outward religious connection.

Volunteers include ex-President Jimmy Carter and his wife, former first lady Rosalynn, who are often hammering away at Habitat building sites.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Arundel Habitat for Humanity, which has completed 27 houses for low-income families. Those homes can be found in all corners of the county -- from Pumphrey to Shady Side to Lothian.

"We hope to build between four and six more houses in 1998," Director Linda Gray says.

Anne Arundel County donated the land for the new Taylor home and two other houses that will be built in Severn. But Habitat will spend nearly $100,000 to extend water and sewer lines and pave the road. Such expenditures could not be covered without generous sponsors, which range from churches to major corporations.

Anne Arundel Habitat for Humanity is a cause to remember in this holiday time of gift-giving.

Pub Date: 12/12/97

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